Friday, August 29, 2008

Brown Lumps and the Dump

I've had this past week off from work, and after a day recovering from the camping adventure it became clear to me that I would be needing to get the boys out of the house again soon. I checked the weather and it was going to be sunny and low 70's. Not quite warm enough for the beach, but probably a good day for going to the ZOO.

I kind of hate the Detroit Zoo. They are running out of interesting animals ever since they sent the Elephants away to relieve their emotional issues. Most of what's left can be described as brown lumps hunched up in the distant corners of their habitat-imitating exhibits. I swear we could get more animal interaction by dangling a shoelace in front of our cat. We recently had an election proposal to pay more taxes to support the zoo, and Jeffrey accompanied me into the voting booth to make sure I checked the YES box. Since he's so cute I did that AND promised to take him there yet this summer.

The problem with our zoo is that it has been designed for the comfort of the animals, and not the humans. Especially the little ones in strollers. There is brown wooden fencing placed at the exact eye level of a toddler. 2 beams: one for sitting in a stroller and one for standing. And don't even get me started on trying to propel a stroller or a wagon over the sloping grounds. You have to apply TORQUE to keep it pointed forward. Very tiring. But now that my kids are out of the stroller/wagon stage, it is easier to get around, and I like looking at the gardens they have there.

The phone rang. It was my mother, she was going to be taking care of Cale and Ramona and was thinking we should all go to the zoo. I told her that I was already planning to do that, so sure, we could all go together. Lately my mother has been having trouble getting around due to arthritis developing in her hip. I hate to see this because it makes her suddenly seem OLD.

"I was thinking I'd rent a wheelchair" she said. "So if I get tired or my hip hurts, we can still get around." Just when I thought I was done with wheels at that place.

Ramona brought along her BFF Julia, here they are being pushed by my mom. When I noticed people looking at them curiously, I would throw the phrases "Siamese Twins" and "not able to be separated" into whatever I was saying, for them to overhear.

Cale and Jeffrey also found the wheelchair to be a ton of fun.

Eventually we made it through the whole zoo, past all of the brown lumps, most of them sleeping. The gorillas were actually moving, just kind of lumbering around with an expression that conveyed their sense of boredom over the conditions of their captivity. They seem so human like, you could almost imagine them among the cubicle aisles...

We declared ourselves to be DONE when we saw the prairie dog, which happens to be at the far corner from the zoo entrance. I shooed the kids away from the wheelchair and my mom got in. I began to push her towards the aisle that Kendrea calls the "Trail of Tears." I found that if I kept a good speed going it was a little easier to maneuver the thing, and we were clipping along past the red-hatted crane when...BAM the front wheels hit smack into a pothole, the wheelchair stopped and my mother kept moving. I watched her roll forward out of the chair. She plopped onto the ground, tumbling, arms and legs every which way. I stood behind the wheelchair, unbelieving what was happening, and shouting nonsense like "I hit a pothole! Kids help Grandma get up! Somebody do something!"

With much commotion we managed to get her upright and back into the chair, which she gripped tightly as I stormed to the front of the zoo, looking for an authority. Something had to be done about this! We found guest services, an unwelcoming steel door with a button on it, which when one of the kids pounded on a buzzer sounded. I opened it and walked in, and my mom and all the kids followed.

"I need to report an incident!" I announced. The woman who was sitting at the nearest desk looked up at me. "I was pushing my mother in the wheelchair, and we hit a POTHOLE, and I dumped her onto the CEMENT!"

She looked at my mother, who started talking: "Well my hip has been hurting me, and then lately my knee, and..."

"You ok?" The lady interrupted her.

"Well, yes, now I am, I'm fine." She answered. Then all of the pairs of eyes turned towards me. I took a zoo map from the lady's desk and put an "X" on the spot where the pothole was. I handed to her and stood up straight, demanding-like.

"Please tell me that you will have that pothole fixed!"

The lady leaned back in her chair, and tilted her head towards some unseen other person in the office area.

"She dumped her mom in a pothole. Take care of that, wouldja?"

Everyone looked at me again. "Thank you, um, that's what I wanted!" I said and we all shuffled out of there.

For the next couple of days, at random moments, Timmy will shout out to a rap beat:

"She DUMPED her MOM in a POTHOLE!" And then Jeff and I will join in: "Take care uh that, wouldja?" And then we crack up.


Nancy USA said...

Way to go Mindy!!!

You would not do well at the San Diego Zoo if you think the Detroit Zoo is hilly!!!

But we have double-decker busses to help! and, lots of great animals!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! I'm sorry; I know I shouldn't be laughing, partly at the expense of your mom, but I am!

Amy M.

Anonymous said...

I was more than a little surprised to hear that Mom spilled out of her wheel chair(onto her bad knee none the less, according to mom) when I came home from work prepared to hear about zoo adventures . I think the shock was worse than the fall- for everyone. With the extra zoo tax, they better fix that pothole!
Mary Beth

Anonymous said...

I laughed all through this blog, and had heard your mom's version first, so I knew that she was OK... but then I stopped laughing suddenly at the thought of my nieces pushing my wheelchair (probably right before they find me a nice HOME) someday. Maybe there ought to be Wheelchair Maneuver Class somewhere that you could attend... Aunt Chris
ps- Kilpatrick's lawyers want to make a deal for him at this late date, including community service instead of jail time. I think that Kwame Kilpatrick filling in potholes at the zoo would be a great start - BEFORE the maximum jail time. pss- I have seen gorilla expressions around the office cubicles too.

Aunt Kathy said...

I'm still laughing! Good thing you chose engineering and not nursing. As a nursing student, you would have gotten suspended! Supervisor would have said "Where was the patients posey vest restraint to keep her in the wheelchair?" That might make a good joke gift for your mom! Poor Dorothy. First she gets arthritis and now everyones laughing!

Rebecca Binno Savage said...

Mindy -

The really ridiculous comment at the Camping Trip /Bone finding blog entry was from our cousin Michael Binno. I gave him your blog address.

I'm sure you are not happy about that - sorry.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mindy
I just read your zoo experience with the kids and your mom. Your friend who said you have not seen hilly zoos till you have been to the San Diego Zoo is right. Now, that is an up-hill adventure. As a nurse Kathy is right we would have put a seat belt on your mom and a helmet to protect from head injuries. I enjoyed your comments it made me smile for the day thinking about it.